Residents go to court over Intel redevelopment

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Residents go to court over Intel redevelopment
Drone photography shows the Intel property. (Photo/Tami White)

HUDSON – The Intel redevelopment is heading to court. 

Yesterday, a complaint was filed in Land Court by abutters – including the Villages at Quail Run, Westridge Condominiums, the Hudson’s Children’s Center and Ralph Stevens as the trustee of the Reed Hudson Revocable Trust – against the town and Intel Massachusetts.

The complaint notes that the developer, Portman Industrial, hasn’t been named as a defendant because “it has failed to register as a foreign corporation doing business in Massachusetts.”

What is proposed

Portman Industrial is proposing to construct a 1.28 million-square-foot distribution warehouse at the former Intel site.

Earlier this summer, Intel confirmed that it planned to sell its 149-acre site at 75 Reed Road to Portman Industrial.

According to their site plan narrative, Portman plans to demolish the existing buildings. They are proposing to construct a 1,284,640-square-foot distribution warehouse with 190 loading bays and parking for 540 trailers and 447 employee parking areas.

Residents voice concerns

Residents have voiced concerns on the redevelopment of the Intel site during public hearings hosted by the Planning Board. 

“Greatest main street in America, right? How nice is it going to be when you’re sitting at Welly’s outside and you got a diesel truck driving by and you’re trying to enjoy?” said Seth Bernier during a Sept. 27 hearing.

Director of Hudson Children’s Center Robin Shapiro called the proposed development “ridiculous” as it abuts the daycare and two retirement communities. 

“We are not opposed to a commercial property being sold by Intel, but we are opposed to this monstrosity that is going to not only disrupt Hudson Children’s Center, Quail Run [and] Westridge, [but] it is going to disrupt the whole town of Hudson,” Shapiro said. 

Special Counsel weighs in 

Special Counsel of the Intel redevelopment Mark Babrowski said as the proposed project would be located in Hudson’s M-6 Industrial Zoning District, if the town denies the application, the warehouse would be developed without conditions and the court would grant the site plan approval.

“We’re at a deficit here … This [the proposed warehouse] is as of right use in the industrial district, it is subject only to site plan approval and the Planning Board is now going through the process of making it fit to the community,” he said. 

Babrowski said that working with the experts for the project, Hudson can come up with mitigation that Portman Industrial could live with while also promoting the health, safety and welfare of residents.

Argument

Attorney Michael Pill, who is representing the abutters, argued in the complaint that the application said that the proposed use as a distribution warehouse “is considered a Permitted Use as a premises for industrial activities.”

Pill noted a statement by Hudson Executive Assistant Thomas Gregory that under the zoning the project was an “allowed use by-right” and was subject to site plan approval by the Planning Board. 

“The actual use of the property is not being fully disclosed by defendant Intel’s site plan review application documents, making it impossible to make an accurate determination whether the proposed use is really permitted under the Bylaw,” Pill wrote. 

He said that Intel has admitted that certain assumptions have been made about the potential uses of the facility because the building was being designed on a speculative basis to be able to market and seek a tenant for the project.

Pill argued that the specific nature and facts of the assumptions haven’t been disclosed in the application. 

“Based on the limited information available, it appears the proposed use of the property is commercial rather than industrial, which does not qualify as a ‘Permitted use’ under Bylaw Section 5.5.1.1 allowing ‘Buildings, structures and premises for industry and manufacturing,’” he wrote. 

He further argued that no manufacturing was proposed for the property and that the site plan review application cannot be approved by the Planning Board unless they found that all of the site plan review requirements under specifc bylaws had been satisfied. 

Among their requests, the plaintiffs are asking that the court make a judgment that the proposed use is not permitted by right under the bylaws and award costs of this legal action to the plaintiffs.

“The Bylaw requires, or at a minimum authorizes, denial of site plan approval unless the Hudson Planning Board ‘finds that the proposed development is in conformance with this bylaw,’” Pill wrote.

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